NGOs applaud Indonesian government’s commitment to achieving MSC certification for pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries

Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries announces that pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries will enter full Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment
Artati Widiarti, John Burton (IPNLF Chairman), Dr Mohamed Shainee (Maldives Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture) and Saut Hutagalung (Director General of Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing at MMAF)

The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) have announced their intention to enter their pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries, for skipjack and yellowfin, into full Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment by the end of 2015. This move, alongside MMAF’s continued efforts to support and develop their fisheries, has been widely praised by NGOs.

The commitment comes on the back of the 4th International Coastal Tuna Business Forum (ICTBF), an annual event that brings key players in the market, government, NGOs and industry together, and was held last week in Bali. The forum cemented on-going dialogue amongst stakeholders, resulting in the decision to enter MSC this year, announced by Saut Hutagalung, Director General of Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing at MMAF.

“The internationally respected MSC eco-label will provide a solid foundation for the long-term viability of our country’s traditional fishing communities and will lead to much improved market access for our responsibly-caught tuna,” says Saut Hutagalung.

Andrew Harvey, Country Director of International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) commented “IPNLF and our partners have been working closely with Saut Hutagalung and MMAF over recent years. MMAF, with NGO and industry support, have been active champions of their own fisheries, demonstrating the government’s commitment to sustainability and they deserve recognition for their dedication and hard work, in the same way that the fishers deserve recognition for theirs.”

At the ICTBF event, the Maldivian Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. Mohamed Shainee, called on Indonesia to partner with Maldives to push for better management at RFMO level, and offered his country’s support throughout the MSC process. Such cross-border support is especially notable when considering wide-ranging pelagic species like tuna.

The pole-and-line and hand-line fisheries in Indonesia are currently engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), which have just undergone their annual review. The FIPs represent collaborative action between industry, MMAF and NGOs such as WWF-Indonesia, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), Fishing & Living, International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). 

“MDPI, as an organisation which works closely with industry - specifically with fishermen, is hopeful with regards to this collaborative approach to potential MSC certification in Indonesia. The small-scale fishermen and the industries that support them need to get recognition for their good work towards sustainability over recent years, work which includes improving data, traceability and co-management in the communities,” says Aditya Utama Surono, Executive Director of MDPI.

Abdullah Habibi, Fisheries and Aquaculture Improvement Manager of WWF-Indonesia added “ the action plan toward improvement of the tuna fisheries in Indonesia which was developed and agreed in 2011 has served as a guideline for government, NGOs and private sectors. Some of the action plans have been well improved by the tuna stakeholders in Indonesia, and further collaboration on implementing the developed plan will not only work for achieving the MSC but also to sustain the fishery and continuity of the tuna industry".

The client for MSC certification will be Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI), a fishery association that acts as a unified voice for the country’s pole-and-line and handline industry. Inaugurated a year ago at the 3rd ICTBF in 2014, AP2HI have quickly established themselves as a respected industry group and an active force in developing and promoting coastal tuna fisheries, alongside the NGOs operating in Indonesia.

MMAF have already advanced the commitment towards MSC by convening a stakeholder meeting in Jakarta on 3rd June, this event clarified collective commitment to MSC from government and NGOs and outlined priority issues to be addressed over coming months and the roles and tasks of different organisations. 

Notes to Editors


The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) works to develop, support and promote socially and environmentally responsible pole-and-line and hand-line tuna fisheries around the world. IPNLF’s ambition is to contribute to thriving coastal fisheries, including the people, businesses and seas connected with them. 

As a hub for sustainably-minded organisations, we use the influence of the market to forge change through practical fishery projects and stakeholder cooperation. IPNLF membership is open to organisations involved in the pole-and-line tuna supply chain, from fishing associations to suppliers, to retailers. Allied with our members, we demonstrate the value of pole-and-line tuna to consumers, policy-makers and throughout the supply chain.

We work across science, policy and the seafood sector, using an evidence-based, solutions-focused approach with guidance from our Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees. 

IPNLF was officially registered in the United Kingdom in 2012 (Charity 1145586), with a branch office in London, the Maldives and a staff presence in Indonesia.

About the Marine Stewardship Council

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. The MSC runs the only certification and ecolabelling program for wild-capture fisheries consistent with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries.  These guidelines are based upon the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing and require that credible fishery certification and ecolabelling schemes include:

  • Objective, third-party fishery assessment utilising scientific evidence;
  • Transparent processes with built-in stakeholder consultation and objection procedures;
  • Standards based on the sustainability of target species, ecosystems and management practices.                                                   

The MSC has regional or area offices in London, Seattle, Tokyo, Sydney, The Hague, Beijing, Berlin, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Halifax, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Santiago, Moscow, Salvador, Singapore and Reykjavik. 

In total, over 340 fisheries are engaged in the MSC program with over 250 certified and around 100 under full assessment. Together, fisheries already certified or in full assessment record annual catches of more than ten million metric tonnes of seafood.  This represents over eleven per cent of the annual global harvest of wild capture fisheries. Certified fisheries currently land over seven million metric tonnes of seafood annually – around nine per cent of the total harvest from wild capture fisheries.  Worldwide, more than 27,000 seafood products, which can be traced back to the certified sustainable fisheries, bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

For more information on the work of the MSC, please visit


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